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Why I run: ‘It’s painful and boring. Afterwards, you’re fully alive’

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

It’s probably only when I’m running that I properly observe the world

How to get started – and how to be a faster runner

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J Alfred Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons. I measure mine with footsteps. There is no digital gizmo involved, just my head. Sixteen hundred steps from the office will take me along Regent’s Canal as far as the Constitution pub. Whatever happens, I know I can count there and back as a run of sorts. 4,000 steps takes me to the wild dogs and pelicans at London zoo. 6,000 and I’m at the end of the towpath. 12,000 steps is a good run. Six miles. No inner monologue, no conversation with my running partner. Just counting.

It allows me to nurse my obsessive compulsions (I say hello to every coot along the way, touch the railings 10 times, run 100 steps on the spot at certain points) and to forget them. (Despite all the ridiculous ritual, my mind clears.)

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